Joel Piniero on the Mets' pursuit last winter: "it was weird"

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Many people assumed that the Mets, obviously short of starting pitching, would go after Joel Piniero last winter. According to the Daily News, first among them was Joel Piniero.

The Mets’ Alex Cora is reportedly tight with Omar Minaya, and he told Piniero that the Mets were definitely going to try to sign him. But they didn’t. When it was all said and done the Mets — after a long period of inactivity — offered $15 million over two years after the Angels’ $16 million offer and that was that. Says Piniero “Alex was telling me (it was going to happen). I was like, ‘all right, I’m just waiting for that good thing
to happen, and I’m ready to go,’ but it never came . . . it was just weird.”  Assuming the bit about Cora is true, this sounds to me like Omar Minaya wanted Piniero but was overruled by Jeff Wilpon, with the $15 million offer coming in late for the sake of appearances.

After Piniero made the Yankees’ look like minor leaguers with that sinkerball yesterday, you can’t help but think that the Mets weren’t exactly taking the long view of things in that negotiation.  Shocking, I know. 

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.